Darkness is as Light was my first novel. Although I started wirting the novel in 2004, ideas for the story developed years earlier with a vignette shared with me by a former patient that I couldn't forget. It had to do with the death of his mother. I wrote about that event several times but never considered developing a story around it. In the early months of 2004, though, ideas for a story came together quickly and I began writing. This is my most emotionally intense story.
Randall is a middle-aged man who has spent his life trying to preserve the memory of the mother he lost as a young boy. At the same time, he struggles with the fact that he lives with the person he suspects of killing her----his alcoholic father. Tormented by both grief and failed opportunities, Randall finds himself in a psychiatric hospital piecing together the meaning of his life after an attempted suicide.
Upon his return home, Randall discovers that his father is dying of cancer and that he must care for him. On this final journey, Randall learns what really happened to his mother, and in the process, both men discover light emerging from the darkness of their lives.
Below is a brief excerpt from Chapter 1
I wonder how many minutes there are in a lifetime. I mean actual
ticks of the clock. Figure there are over 1,400minutes in a single day.
So, simple multiplying tells you there's over a half million minutes in
one year. If you live a long time, like 70 years, well, that's like 35
million minutes. That makes us all millionaires when it comes to time.
Not as many minutes as Bill Gates has dollars, but a lot nonetheless,
enough to do something. With all those minutes you could build a lot
of pyramids or make hundreds of movies or be president. Usually
those guys are all spent by the time they become president. I mean,
they're on the gray end of life. But at least they're trying to do
something with the time they have left.
Mostly we waste time. How much is spent watching TV or
standing in the check out line or folding clothes or parting your hair?
I heard that we spend one third of our lives sleeping. One third, for
God's sake. That's millions of minutes. So I stayed up for days once to
see if I could make my life better, but it only made me tired and
irritable and I had all that sleep to make up. I ended up wasting time
trying to figure out what to do with it. I guess you could say most of
my life has been wasted time, like nickels thrown into a slot machine,
gone forever with nothing to show for it. I keep pulling the handle
and hoping, but it never comes up cherries.
It wasn't that way in the beginning. There's always a promise of
something in the beginning. My mother told me there was a rainbow
outside the hospital window the very moment I was born. She said
she looked into my eyes and I looked back at her with a steady gaze,
like I knew something really important, like I remembered where I
came from before I came out of her and that it was a secret, a special
secret about why we were all here. Then she would laugh and tell me
that the very next moment my eyes were rolling every which \way and
my tongue had gone crazy trying to get out of my mouth and I didn't
seem to have any recollection whatsoever about why I was here or
where I'd come from. She would laugh every time she told me that
story. Sometimes I would ask her to tell it to me when I was bored and
there was nothin' to do. When the words came out of her mouth it was
like she was making my life for me; the words themselves were my
arms and legs and mouth and heart and everything. I could breathe
deep and feel myself alive when she talked.